Nothing will replace the expertise of a plumber when it comes to problems with your drains, but there are a few tips you can try out before the problems gets so serious that you have to call one – in other words, when the problems are still fairly minor! In the case of toilets that are threatening to overflow, or showers that don’t drain water easily, here are a few techniques that could be effective.
For blocked pipes
1) Hot water
Heat up around one litre of water and pour it down the blocked toilets or drains. Make sure to hold the pot and empty it from as high above the drain as possible: the heat combined with the height will help dislodge anything blocking up the pipes.
2) Powerful de-greasing washing up liquid
Pour 60 mls of washing up liquid into blocked pipes or toilets. Leave it to sit for a half an hour (the time for the liquid to work its way down). The next time you go to run water or use a plunger, the blockage will clear by itself.
3) Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda
The combination of the two creates a chemical reaction that will help unblock the pipes. The exact method for creating this reaction and the required amounts are explained in more detail in our dedicated article on the subject. There is also another variant that uses salt suggested in this article.
A pipe that is taking too long to drain
Your pipes may not necessarily be blocked – they may just be taking longer than usual to empty. We often notice when we are taking a shower that the water is rising up around our ankles. To solve this problem, simple salt should do the trick. Empty a litre of good hot water into the offending drain and leave it to run through. Next pour in 150 g of salt and rinse it through with another litre of very hot water. The abrasive action of the salt will loosen the debris that is preventing the water from running through smoothly, and wash it all through.
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We are in full agreement, this is a nightmare! There is nothing worse than overflowing toilets – given that the toilets are already not the most hygienic of environments, having them overflowing is even more unpleasant! Prevention is better than cure in this instance, and a few good habits should help prevent problems. Give a look into the cistern and be sure that the stopper that lets the water flow into the toilet is properly closed. Once it is closed, look for where the pipe from the toilet meets the wall, and shut off the water supply. This will allow you to use the plunger in safety, without running the risk of flooding the place!